Like a barren winter field waiting for planting, the walls of the Cornelius Arts Center Gallery are empty this time of year. But soon they will be sprouting with vivid works of art as the center prepares for its annual Home Grown exhibition.
Artists from Cornelius and surrounding areas are invited to submit their work Jan. 9-19. The exhibit kicks off with a reception 6:30-8:30 p.m. Feb. 3 and runs through March 24.
“The town recognizes that art is an important component to any community,” said Mindi Ellison, Recreation and Arts coordinator. “With that said, the town of Cornelius is delighted to provide the gallery at the Cornelius Art Center for local artists to showcase their work. There’s limited ways for our local artists to do that. We’re happy to provide that opportunity.”
Artists, both professional and amateur, are invited to submit works in a variety of mediums including paintings, drawings, ceramics, sculpting, and others. Submissions are limited to one per person and the artist has an option of posting it for sale with a maximum asking price of $3,000.
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This is the show’s fourth year. Ellison said the exhibit drew more than 100 entries in 2016.
“Ninety percent of the people that participate (in Home Grown) are not professional artists,” said Renee Calder, a Cornelius Arts Center ceramics and pottery instructor. “This is their afternoon, evening and weekend love and passion.”
On a daily basis, the center is often bustling with art classes that appeal to adults and children. The Home Grown exhibit’s participants are limited to adults and many of them are students or instructors from the center’s classes.
Calder, a 62-year-old Huntersville resident, started taking ceramics lessons at the center 10 years ago when she moved from New York. Once she retired from her corporate job, she approached center staff about becoming an instructor.
As a mixed media specialist, Calder combines wood and metal with her ceramic pieces. She started selling her works about five years ago and is a veteran of Home Grown shows.
“I’ve been bringing forward a lot more found objects and metal into my works, integrating them into my ceramics pieces,” said Calder. “I enjoy the partnership of the two mediums and it gives me a huge differnce from what most traditional ceramic artists do.”
Carpentry pays the bills for Keith Meyers, but the 40-year-old Concord man is passionate about his pottery and ceramics. He teaches classes at the Cornelius Arts Center and he is also the studio manager, making him responsible for all of its clay and kilns.
Meyers likes to say he specializes in functional pottery, meaning his plates, pots and cups are items someone can use in their everyday lives. But when a glob of clay hits the pottery wheel his artist side sometimes takes over and he likes to experiment with size, shape and textures.
“You want to show your best work (at Home Grown),” said Meyers. “You want to show some of your more artistic work because mostly what I make is more functional … What I like about pottery is that you can make those things but you can make them in an artistic style that’s not your traditional pottery you see.”
A Cornelius Arts Center painting instructor, Mountain Island Lake resident Isabelle Griesmyer, will be a first-time entrant in the Home Grown exhibit. She is giving a little more thought to the piece she is going to enter, and can’t resist sliding in some social commentary.
“I would like to do a landscape or something with nature, with oil or a torn paper collage,” Griesmyer, 63, said. “I’m upset with all the trees coming down in the Charlotte area. So I’m going to try to do something with trees or the nature or the environment.”
The instructors say they encourage their students to participate in Home Grown.
Joe Habina is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information visit www.cornelius.org/128/Gallery.